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Monday, November 28, 2011

Vegas Baby: Part 4 - Let it Ride

We’ve talked travel. We’ve talked lodging. We’ve talked eating. NOW, comes the biggie. This is what Vegas is all about. Gambling.

OK, I am no big gambler by any means. I rarely stop by anything more than a $5.00 Black Jack table and the penny slots are where you will find me on a casino floor. That being said, there is something alluring about the idea of hitting it big in Vegas.

You hear the sounds, you see the lights. Is it any wonder that the digital sounds of someone cashing out or winning is slightly louder than anything else. You usually do not hear a sound when you do not hit any lines on a slot machine.

Working for four years in Amusement Park environments teaches you a lot about the art of the sell. You want to draw in people so you emphasize a big win, no matter how mundane or impossible it be to actually win.

I have been to six casinos in my life. Two in Niagara Falls, The Rivers in Pittsburgh and now The Mirage, The Bellagio, and The Venetian. Out of all of them, I actually prefer Pittsburgh. That sounds biased being in my area but if your sole purpose for going to Las Vegas, beyond shows, food, experience, or sightseeing, is to gamble then don’t go. Go to a place more local to you. When I went to The Rivers after it first opened all they had was slot machines and it was still fun. When they introduced table games in the last year or so, I was excited because I like a good game of Black Jack.

Still, I was a just a bit disappointed at the lack of actual tables on the casino floor and the fact that the casino only covered one level. The ones in Niagara Falls had a couple. This was in 2004. They had one level that was smoking and one, non smoking.

But, going to Vegas, my expectations were high in the amount of actual tables and variety of machines and the number of available floors to gamble on and after visiting all three of those afore mentioned casinos, I saw no distinct difference in actual gambling experience.

In fact, I found the offerings of slot machines to be very repetitive. I saw the same machines over and over again, throughout the Mirage floor. It makes it easy for someone to find the machine they like, but I spent a lot of time going over the floor looking to find ones that I enjoyed and kept seeing the same stupid ones. In the end, I kept coming back to the same one, which was a plus to the casino for dragging me into that world of fail since I spent close to $50 on it. 

It was right next to the restrooms and the Cirque du Soleil ‘Beatles’ Love show. There were times that you could really go up a lot if you could get the ‘Battle for Gotham’ bonus which is a four part race that is AI Controlled that racks up bonus credits for you. I think the most I ever got was around $30 and I ended up putting that back into the machine anyway. I found a video of it from a different casino on YouTube. It’s very fun.

The Dark Knight Slot Machine

Granted, in that video, the player bet probably the max bet which would have been like $0.80 and multiplied 12 times which is $9.60. But the payout was 213.36 so, that was good. I usually did the $0.80 single multiplier and on very rare occasions did I splurge and do 2x multipliers. I’m such a cheap ass.

Yep, I only ended up gambling $120 and I lost all of that. I gained a little back playing an Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade slot machine in the airport before our flight home. Then I lost it again.

Now, once again, I should stress that I only went to three casinos, on the strip and didn’t venture downtown, but you’d think that it would be a better experience in the newer area.

So, in all, if you have a casino near where you live and have some grand scheme of going to Vegas to hit it big… stay home. Save the money you would have blown on travel and do something else with it. Go to the local joint and spend the original gambling fund there. Might as well help your area over someone else’s, right?

Also, decide how much you actually want to spend on gambling and don’t go beyond that. If you go up, fine. If you can remove your original amount and just gamble on the house money, do so. That way, when you eventually lose it all, you end up even. This is not the economy to be losing your shirt in.

Next up is my monthly WUMF post and then some final thoughts on Vegas.

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